Effect of orientation on thermoset frontal polymerization

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We observed that the velocities of descending thermoset polymerization fronts were strongly affected by the orientation of the tube. The front remained approximately perpendicular to the gravitational vector but propagated almost 1.8 times as fast at 75° along the axis of the tube. We performed a study of the velocity and front-shape dependence on orientation with propagating fronts of triethylene glycol dimethacrylate with peroxide initiator and acrylamide/bisacrylamide polymerization in dimethyl sulfoxide with persulfate initiator. The percentage increase of velocity was independent of the initiator concentration but strongly dependent on the viscosity. Convection under the front flowed away from the tube wall nearest the vertical axis and was stronger as the angle increased. The front shape also changed, becoming significantly distorted near the wall from which the convection originated. We applied a simple geometric argument to explain the angular dependence for small angles on the basis of the assumption that convection did not affect the velocity of propagation normal to the front. The increase in velocity along the tube axis could be explained by a projection of the normal velocity onto the tube axis, following a 1/cosθ dependence. For higher angles, the convection was not sufficiently strong to maintain a level front. When the difference from a 180° orientation was considered, the velocity dependence exactly followed the geometric relationship.

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Journal of Polymer Science, Part A: Polymer Chemistry

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